Listen: Students work (Post) - 4525

College is a job for student, but many also have other part-time or full-time jobs to help pay for tuition. With funding for students their colleges are scarce in difficult financial economies, these side jobs become even more important for keeping students in college.

MPR’s Tim Post interviews students that also have jobs and learn how they balance their work life and studies. Many students will still have to take out loans and grants while working and learning.


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TIM POST: Corky's Bar in Fair Haven is the kind of small town beer joint where you don't need to order a drink. The bartender already knows your favorite, and has it ready to go before you sit down. Morgan Quinn is serving up late afternoon drinks to a crowd of about a dozen locals. Quinn is a 20-year-old senior at Saint Cloud State University. This is one of three jobs she'll hold down while finishing up her last year in school. She'll also work at a nursing home, and tutor elementary students in math and reading. It means plenty of hours of work for the energetic linguistics major.

MORGAN QUINN: It'll be 12 plus the ones here. So in between 30 and 35, I think.

TIM POST: Quinn says she doesn't have a problem balancing her busy work life with her studies, and she feels good that those three jobs help pay her $7,500 annual tuition bill.

MORGAN QUINN: That and just, the regular subsidized and unsubsidized loans and those things. So it works out well.

TIM POST: Students working long hours to pay tuition is becoming more common, according to Minnesota college officials. Valerie Knapp with Saint Cloud state's Financial Aid office says that's because of rising tuition costs, the slow economy, and a smaller pool of aid for students.

VALERIE KNAPP: They may not be getting as much support from their parents because their parents have other obligations that they need to meet. The grants might not be sufficient if they have grants, or loan limits that might not be able to be there to pay for some of those educational costs. So I think that's where some of those additional work hours are coming.

TIM POST: Officials at the University of Minnesota where a year of tuition now costs about $10,000, are seeing a similar trend among their students. Judy Gallina is Coordinator of Student Employment programs at the U of M. Gallina says the U Is prepared for the crush of students looking for work.

JUDY GALLINA: And here we have ta da! Many, many postings.

TIM POST: Gallina says any student who wants a job should be able to find one on the campus website.

JUDY GALLINA: And as you can see, there's about 20 per page, and we have currently 12 pages of open positions.

TIM POST: There are about 6,000 jobs available for students on the twin cities campus of the University of Minnesota. They pay anywhere from $8 to $12 an hour. Gallina says in the past, some students searching for work did so reluctantly.

JUDY GALLINA: And now I am really seeing a keener interest on the part of students in finding work, because they're having to put together a package, and they understand that student employment is one of those pieces.

TIM POST: The university sees value in students working, but Gallina recommends students take it easy if they can. She likes to see freshmen hold off on taking jobs during their first semester, and she recommends everyone else limit the hours they work.

KEVIN KLEIN: I don't want to go over 10, 15 hours a week.

TIM POST: University of Minnesota junior Kevin Klein has figured out what his limits are. Klein, a vocal arts major, works on campus in catering, and in the department of Music.

KEVIN KLEIN: I think that anything more than that, it might be pushing it too much just with all the credits I have and then with classes. So about probably 15 hour max.

TIM POST: Klein says his parents don't require him to work to help pay for school, it's something he wants to do. But financial aid officials at Minnesota colleges expect they'll see more students this year who need to work, and need to work longer hours to pay for tuition. At the same time, they're encouraging students to watch their personal finances, so students aren't spending too much on entertainment or gadgets for their dorm rooms when they should use that money to help pay for school. Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio News. Fairhaven.

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